Living Off the Grid: What it means and How to begin

off grid living


What does it mean to live off the grid? And how can one get started? Here are the main takeaways:

  • living off the grid

            -Off Grid Living meaning

            -The Grid

  • Different Approaches to Off Grid Living

            -Where does the idea come from?

            -How did people live off the grid before the development of power lines ?

            -A few different interpretations of off grid living

  • How to get started

            -First steps you can take towards self sustaining power solution

            -Important considerations to keep in mind



For some, living off the grid is the ultimate ideal. What that may mean to each person can differ. Some would highlight how living off-grid helps them stick it to “the Man” while for others the main focus is living in harmony with nature or living an entirely self-sufficient life. Whatever the reason, off-grid living can present an appealing alternative to the costly and unsustainable way that life operates with the grid. So, what does living off the grid actually mean, and how can you get started? Let’s take a look

What is living off the grid?

To give us an understanding of what living off the grid means, first, we must understand what is meant by the term “the Grid” itself. The grid is the electrical grid that routes electrical power from electricity suppliers to individuals, residents, and consumers.

This interconnected system moves electricity from power generator stations, through transmission lines, then to power centers. From the power centers, electricity is routed through more lines that distribute the electrical power to households and individuals.

So, living off the grid essentially means living in a way where your daily household needs would not be reliant on the larger interconnected network of electrical power lines. That might mean living in a way that requires less electrical power, developing or adopting alternative methods of energy. (Learn more on their difference Here)

Off-grid living typically also requires a high level of self-sustainability. That means that people who live off-grid do not need to rely on external sources for electrical power, sewage and waste disposal, water, or any other utilities. Off-the-grid living generally connotes images of a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly lifestyle, and can often be found in wide-open natural spaces, away from urban and suburban centers.

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Different Approaches to Off-Grid Living

Living off the grid is a relatively new term for an old way of living. For some people, this is the main attraction. To return to a way of life that existed before there was any electrical grid at all carries both benefits and drawbacks. Many climate-conscious activists believe that living off the grid in an old way that prioritizes harmony with nature is a better mode of life. These people look to the past for inspiration, seeking tribal or pioneer-era methods of growing food and building shelter that pre-date the invention of electricity and all the modern inventions that came after it.

Other people turn towards the self-reliability lifestyles as a way of being prepared for any unknown catastrophic event. These people are sometimes called “survivalists” because they have been developing ways of life that will allow them to survive independently in the face of a natural disaster, a blackout, war, or other large-scale human conflicts, or political upheaval.

Another approach to off-grid living sees people motivated by philosophical, political, environmental, and financial concerns about the way systems are run. These people see corruption and unsustainable methods that generate a lot of waste. Power and profits is concentrated to a small minority. The ability to develop alternative systems of living, cooperating, and generating electricity allows these people to present an alternative to the overarching political narrative. For them, it is important to create a self-sufficient form of energy. These people a more sustainable way of interacting within a community. Communes, sustainable farms, and certain other eco-focused communities would fall under this category.

Finally, it provides a solution for people who live in areas where utilities are not readily available. Conflict and post-conflict zones, remote areas, disaster relief zones, and spaces where people still live in a sovereign nation, practicing a traditional way of life that is separate from whichever government is nearby; these groups can benefit greatly from adopting power generating systems that are not determined by the national or municipal power supply.

Getting started on off-grid

If you are interested in starting to live off the grid, it will be important to keep in mind a few considerations. First, make sure you recognize that this process takes a lot of time, resources, and commitment. It isn’t easy to set up a new self sustaining power supply solution from scratch; in fact, the convenience of having electrical power delivered straight to your home or business is the reason most people subscribe to that system in the first place.

You will also want to decide early on which approach you will be taking: are you looking to completely sever ties with all utilities provided by external sources? Or are you just cutting out the electrical power supplied by the grid?

Once you have a clear idea of what you are trying to accomplish, look into the following details to get started. Do you live on your own plot of land or are you renting? Particularly if you would like to build your own form of shelter that can help support your off-grid lifestyle, you will want to have your own plot of land. This will also allow you to set up a garden where you can grow your own fruits and vegetables, raise chickens and rabbits, and work on building projects from time to time.

Decide whether you want to go it alone or find a community- you can even research and reach out to a few communities to get inspiration and ideas or see whether they seem like a good fit for you.

Then, perhaps the most important requirement: figure out your power source. Will you be relying heavily on a generator? Developing your own technology to boost and sustain power? Installing solar panels? There are many options for how to power your self-sufficient life. Therefore, research. Trial and error will also be required here.

Off-Grid: Final Thoughts

Living off the grid can help you reduce costs on energy and waste disposal. In addition, you’ll find yourself more prepared in the face of a disaster. As a result, one automatically develops a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. But it does require a lot of work. Take a good look at your essential lifestyle needs to help you decide how to focus your efforts as you develop your self-sustainable power solution. 


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